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Behind The Mask

Posted: October 3, 2020

“Eclectic, interesting…will fill you with hope and resolve!” – Pick up our new short story collection, Women.Mutiny

I am enraged to see people without a mask in this pandemic, I write this poem to channelise my anger and hopefully educate some people too!

It’s not such a phenomenal task,

You’d think, to ask people to wear a mask.

Especially in the midst of a pandemic,

You’d think wearing one would become endemic.

But no, not all will wear one,

Explaining that they “can’t bear” one,

Explaining that they feel “stifled”,

Masking up makes one feel “not entitled”.

Not entitled to what?

To the idea that one is free?

To the idea of losing one’s identity?

To the idea that opposes democracy?

Some folks just feel uncomfortable,

To breathe, they are unable.

Old folks feel unstable,

Masks just make them “disabled”.

But the actual differently-challenged folks,

I see them don masks like heroes.

In wheelchairs, on crutches,

With spastic gait, and hunches,

They have trouble talking,

And drag their legs while walking,

They don’t complain about masks,

They are happy just thriving,

In this time, THEY are surviving.

There’s also gender disparity,

You’d think it would abate now, naturally,

But it’s so perennial, this chromosomal difference,

Even during a crisis,

It causes a hindrance!

When I go out,

As necessity demands,

I’m often observant of behavior,

And as I look and glance,

I see many people,

Without the mandatory mask.

They don’t seem afraid,

They walk without care.

And they stare at ME,

As if I’m causing a scare!

I’m armed with an N95,

And though I wear it with grace,

It’s a helmet for my face,

Which tests my breathing ability,

And while sweating under it,

I watch with tenacity.

That there are more women,

Wearing face covers than men.

And the irony of this infective demon is,

It’s latching on more to androgen!

That is, the stats show, men are more afflicted.

I wonder why, then, the men are roaming, unrestricted!

Could it be because,

The gender contrast goes back a long way,

To behavior traits.

Where men have to seem “strong”

And women, “afraid”, wear masks and seem “less brave”?

The strange thing is this,

When a couple walks by,

The woman is masked,

But no cover for the guy!

It’s fine with me, if the male gender thinks,

The Y chromosome makes them some super human thing.

Okay, you think it won’t affect  you,

But it’s not okay,

You’re affecting me too!

So I don’t think it’s got anything to do with patriarchy,

But more to do with lack of discipline and sense,

By wearing a mask,

You don’t just protect yourself,

You’re wearing it to prevent,

Infecting someone else!

I know of a woman,

So mentally distraught,

As during this lockdown,

She’s only fought and fought,

With her live-in boyfriend

Who’s refusal to cover up,

Is raising such levels of stress,

In an otherwise happy lady,

Who is now just depressed!

It’s reached a stage,

Where Tina refuses to budge,

And Bobby storms out of door,

Without a mask, to go to the store.

It’s just a lack of social responsibility,

And a show that you don’t care,

For your significant other,

Who’s always been there.

Research has shown that feminines,

Have always been more disciplined.

Whether at school work or sports,

They are diligent and win.

Women also have more empathy,

And fairness in mind.

And consideration and sensibility,

Are more “womanly” qualities, you’ll find.

Whereas men just want to show,

A show-and-tell of strength.

A display of “stud ness”,

Without any substance.

There’s also this thing,

A friend told me once,

Men are so egotistical,

They can’t take “instruction”,

This woman went on to say,

“Men can’t be told what to do

And God forbid, you do, they’ll go the opposite way!”

So when I tell my brother,

God, please wear a cover,

He shrugs and says,

“Oh, it doesn’t matter!”

A relationship just broke up,

Because the “he” decided the mask was “inconvenient”,

It exhibited a selfishness,

And the “she” wouldn’t relent,

And was horrified at a future being spent,

With a “he” so conceited and bent!

What wearing a mask shows is this,

A deep respect for a significant other,

And for society at large,

For a sister, or brother,

It shows universal commitment,

To curbing the spread,

Of a violent, virulent virus,

So get it out of your head,

That not wearing one shows strength,

All it shows is DISRESPECT!

By Scherezade Mansukhani

Photo by August de Richelieu from Pexels

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Scherezade is a Clinical Child Psychologist, Part-timeish mother, blogger, French teacher and IATA teacher.

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